Monday, April 28, 2014

The Kindergatner's Sunny Day Checklist.

On a recent sunny spring day, our kindergartner sat down with a pen and a clipboard before she headed out of doors.

"What are you doing?" I asked.

She replied, without taking her eyes off the kid-sized clipboard, "Making a list of everything I want to do today."

In case you don't speak Kindergarten, it reads: Roll in the Grass, Swing, Chalk (sidewalk chalk, for the uninitiated) and Tag.

Oh, to be a kid again.

When she came back in a few hours later, she found another pen and checked off all her tasks. As you can see, she was able to accomplish everything on the list. Which is more than I can say for my day's checklist. (Her's was much more fun).

As I looked at her work, I asked, "So, did you have fun today?"

"Yep," she replied as she skipped out of the room.

Happy kid? ... Check.

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Friday, April 18, 2014

37 Reasons CNY Is An Awesome Place To Live

Whenever it snows in late March -- or, worse yet, mid-April -- the always percolating “anti-Syracuse” sentiment just below the surface in far too many Central New Yorkers seems to bubble to the top. Heck, even I, known to crow to the point of annoyance about how great it is here, started looking at job openings in the Carolinas when the snow fell on tax day this year.

I ought to know better. I’ve lived in other places for extended periods, and know we have it pretty good here. But sometimes we all need a little reminding.

So, as a way to lift my own spirits, and those of other Central New Yorkers, I put together this list of reasons why Central New York is a pretty darn awesome place to live.

Before the list, however, let’s just establish one thing. Relatively speaking, our winters really aren’t that cold. Sure, we get the most snow of any medium-sized city. But winter is colder in many other places – and I’m talking about places people live. Look at a map of average winter lows in North America. We have the same temps as southern Iowa (It sounds simply exotic when you put southern in front of it, doesn’t it).

In fact, several whole states are colder than us, including all of Wisconsin, Minnesota and Vermont. I even hear there is an entire country to the north of us, with millions of people in it. So when the relatives from elsewhere call and start a sentence with, “It must be freezing up there,” set them straight.

Now, on to our awesomeness:

1.       We Have the Best Summers Anywhere, Period. If you’ve ever spent a full July south of the Mason Dixon Line, you know it’s mostly spent indoors, in the air conditioning. It’s just too dang hot to handle otherwise. Not here. Heck, half of us don’t even have air conditioning.

2.       No Earthquakes, Hurricanes, Tornadoes, Major Floods or Brush Fires. I’ll take the fluffy stuff in the great Natural Disaster Raffle every time. Ever try to shovel a hurricane storm surge? Doesn’t work. Besides, we have a very high probability of having a White Christmas every year. And sometimes, a white St. Patrick's Day. Update: Syracuse was ranked as the safest U.S. city from natural disaster.
This happens every day in other cities.

3.       We Have No Concept of “traffic.” If you’ve lived in Washington, Philly, Atlanta or Boston, you know that waiting five minutes for the light in front of the Dewitt Wegmans or 10 minutes on 690 because of construction simply does not count as traffic. Try being stuck in the two-hour delays that happen daily on those big cities’ roads. We just don’t know traffic, at all. And that's good, because traffic sucks.

4.       Everything We Need is Within 20 Minutes. When you wake up on a Saturday in CNY and decide to do something, more than likely, you can be there in 20 minutes or less. That’s not even fathomable for any person living in Boston, NYC, Washington or Atlanta.
For $250,000 you can get a 435
sq. ft., 1 bedroom DC Condo, or
an over 3000 sq. ft. 4 bedroom
home in the Syracuse Suburbs.
Hmm? Which to choose?

5.       We Have Truly Affordable Homes. Everyone here likes to complain about the property taxes on our homes, and that’s our right. But at least many of us can afford to own a home here, and it’s usually a much nicer home than we could afford in almost any other market.

6.       And We Have Darned Good Schools. Sure, we’ve got some work to do to bring more opportunity and better results to certain schools in our community. But, as a whole, we also have some of the best schools in the country. Don’t believe me, next time you talk to one of your friends who’s moved down south, ask about the schools. Then, listen for the trepidation in their voice as they respond, “The School are okay.”

7.       Overall, Our Dollar Goes Further in CNY. Whether you’re buying a beer at a bar or car insurance, things tend to be more affordable here than in major metropolitan areas. Buy a drink for a friend at a bar in NYC, and throw down a ten spot. They’ll laugh at you. Here, you can buy a whole round for four friends for ten bucks – at least during happy hour.  

8.       We Get to Root for Syracuse Basketball. If not for Syracuse Basketball, winters would certainly be a bit harder to take. But we don’t want to think about that. Go ‘Cuse! And let’s not forget S.U. football and lacrosse, etc.

9.       Professional Baseball, Hockey, and Indoor Soccer. Few things can top a summer afternoon watching baseball with a beer and a dog in each hand – on second thought, maybe put the beer down for a second, in case a foul ball comes your way. We can do that here without spending a week’s wages, thanks to the Chiefs. We’ve also got the Crunch and the Silver Knights.
The shores of Lake Ontario.

10.   We’ve Got Beaches, Yes We Do. Within 15 minutes, anyone in town can go to Jamesville Beach or Green Lakes during the warmer months. Or, in about an hour we can walk in the white sands along Lake Ontario at Sodus Point, Sandy Island, or Southwicks. These are real beaches, with waves and sand and sunsets. And we have them.

11.   Everyone Knows Someone with a Boat. We take summers seriously, and we’ve got lots of water around. In CNY, you can’t swing a bat without hitting someone with a boat. Whether it’s a bass boat on Oneida Lake, a party barge on the Seneca River, or a sailboat on Lake Ontario, lots of people own boats around here. Start asking around. And, if you need friends, get a boat. Because owning a boat as an adult, is like owning a pool as a kid. Everyone is your friend in summer.

12.   We have World Class Fishing; I Repeat, World Class Fishing. The Salmon River is considered one of the best fisheries in the world. Seriously. And not just for the fall Salmon run. Steelhead in the fall, winter and spring attract anglers from across the country. Is bass your thing? Oneida. Carp? B-ville. Fly fishing? Nine Mile Creek (or other secret spots I’m not willing to share). All this is between 5 and 40 minutes away.
This happened just north
of here. Believe it or not.

13.   Did You Know You can Sail in CNY? People are always shocked when I tell them I sail in the area. But there is actually a pretty active sailing community here. Whether it’s Lasers on Cazenovia Lake, Hobie Cats on Oneida, or J-24s in Oswego, there are lots of opportunities to sail throughout the region. And sailors are always looking for crew, so I hear.

14.   Skiing, X-Country Skiiing, Snowshoeing, Biking, Paddling, Hiking. Within about half-an-hour you can be to any of at least 5 ski hills, and even more with a longer drive. We took the kids to Toggenburg twice this winter, where they have a great learn to ski package. Others hills do, as well. Take your pick. Skiing definitely makes winter more tolerable. When the snow stops, biking, hiking and paddling opportunities abound, whether right in Syracuse, or a short drive away.

15.   Adirondacks, Great Lakes, Finger Lakes, and Madison County. Want to go to bigger mountains, larger lakes or the countryside. It’s all within our reach.

Try doing this in NYC
without a major hassle.
16. We have Actual Quant Villages. Ever take someone from out of town to Cazenovia, or Skaneateles? They are usually amazed. Or, have you ever been to Sackets Harbor? Within a short drive, we have tons of cool and quant places that make for ideal day trips. And don't forget Syracuse. Whether shopping in Armory, or Skating in Clinton Square, this town has its charms.

17.   An Antiquing Mecca Awaits, just a short drive down Route 20. Every August, more than 2000 vendors gather 30 minutes from Syracuse for the Madison-Bouckville Antique Week. The rest of the year, you can still find tons of dealers selling their wares in Madison, N.Y. and the surrounding area.

18.   St. Patrick’s Day, etc. Everyone knows about the parade. But the other 364 days of the year, Syracuse has some really cool Irish bars -- like Kitty Hoynes and Coleman's -- and countless other ways to revel in your Irish heritage. Do you know about the Irish Sessions, a regular gathering of Irish musicians at local bars. Or, the many Irish dance schools.

19.   Colleges, Colleges, Colleges. Our plethora of colleges and universities not only employ a great number of us, but they help breathe life into our community. We’ve got more than 15 colleges and universities in the greater CNY area.

20.   The Best Restaurants in Town are Actually Affordable. Try to eat at a great restaurant in a big town. First, you have to wait months to even get in. Once you get there, you can’t afford it without a payment plan. Here, we’ve got great chefs making inspired meals for affordable prices. The only problem: you may have to wait an hour for an actual table. (Remember, in many places you have to wait two hours to eat at an Applebees). Check out BC, Pascale, and the Brewster Inn, to name a few.
A friendly, neighborhood watering hole.

21.   Armory Square Simply Rocks. Great bars, food, shops, and even a cool museum. Blue Tusk. Empire. Al’s. Pastabilities. LoFo. A mechanical bull. Chocolate covered strawberries. Boutiques. And an awesome designer discount store my wife has just discovered. I’d put our little hub of nightlife up against any small city's in the country. 

22.   We have an Active Music Scene. Like music? CNY has tons of great bands and good music venues. We even have our own music awards – the Sammys. Check out the winner of the Sammy's People's Choice and Best Americana award, The Ruddy Well Band (Shameless plug for my brother’s band).

23.   Jazzfest. There are so many festivals in the Syracuse area it’s hard to name them all. From the Taste of Syracuse to Harborfest in Oswego. But one festival has been bringing world-class acts here for almost three decades: the Syracuse Jazzfest. Frank Malfitano has another great one planned this year, with B.B. King headlining. Think about it, Syracuse is home to the largest, free Jazz festival in the Northeast. That’s right. Free!
Thanos Import Market.
Try the BellaVitano cheese.

24.   Our own Little Italy. It may be a bit small, but some real gems can be found in and around North Salina Street. Everyone knows about the restaurants, like Francesca’s Cucina and Asti. But, have you ever bought bread at Columbus Bakery? Or cheese at Thanos Import Market? Or gone for dessert and coffee on a Friday night at Biscotti Café? My wife and I went there after a recent date night. Truly amazing. Beyond little Italy you can find rave-worthy Italian cuisine at Santangelo’s, Joey’s, Angotti’s and Gentile’s Restaurant, among others. 

25.   Speaking of gems, Our Diners Trounce the Breakfast Options in Other Places! I remember once trying to find a place to eat breakfast while visiting friends in Charlotte. We ended up at a f***ing Shoney's. We are flat spoiled when it comes to breakfast places that rock. Little Gem, Mother’s Cupboard, The All Night Eggplant, Stellas, Market Café: The list is long and glorious. BTW, they don’t sell Frettas at Shoney's.

26.   We have a Growing Locavore Movement. If you don’t know, we’ve got a pretty active "buy local" movement taking root. Organizations like SyracuseFirst, Believe in Syracuse and Madison County Ag Economic Development are doing everything they can to connect consumers with local businesses and producers – food and otherwise. Restaurants like LoFo and Empire in the Armory, Circa in Caz, and many others, are sourcing as much as possible locally. It’s actually pretty cool.

Side Hill Farmers has a real-life
butcher who makes charcuterie.
He's the one with the knives
hanging from his chain belt.  

27.   Farms, Farmers Markets and Fresh Food. Most CNYers know about the regional market, a great place to spend a Saturday morning in the summer. But we also have access to loads of other places to find farm fresh food, including Side Hill Farmers in Manlius, Nelson Farms just outside Cazenovia, or at the many local farmers markets in Syracuse and surrounding communities. Hard to beat our proximity to local food producers.

28.   We Have Lots of Good Beer. If beer is your thing, hypothetically, CNY has no shortage of great brews and great beer-centered events. Beers from Empire Brewing Co., MiddleAges and Saranac, and festivals like the CNY Brewfest are just the beginning. If you home brew, check out the Salt City Brew Club.

29.   We’re an Hour from Actual Wine Trails. If you’ve never taken a day and a bunch of friends for a road trip west to sample the many wineries and vineyards of the Finger Lakes, you’re missing out on a quintessential benefit of living in CNY. As experiences go, Napa’s got nothing on us.
Gathered on the Finger Lakes Cheese
Trail. ... Consumed at home.

30.   Want Some Cheese Trail with your Wine? Tucked amongst the wineries of the Finger Lakes are a host of local cheese farms. You can also get award-winning local cheese to the east, at places like Meadowood Farms in Madison County.

31.   Can You Say Apple Picking? Ten minutes to the south, or even the west, north or east, you can find places to go apple picking. We usually head out a few times each fall for the picking and fritters at Beak and Skiff. Now, they also sell gin. Yikes. Should we bring a tent? Try to find options like that ten minutes outside Boston, or Manhattan.

32.   Tim’s Pumpkin Patch. Take your pick of easy to reach places to go pumpkin piking. I recall not too fondly trying to get pumpkins living in the D.C. suburbs. We had to drive an hour to get some from any place other than Home Depot. Here, it’s easy and going to Tim's is yet another fall tradition in our house.
Caramel. Candy. Caramel. Candy.
Thanks for the memories
... and the apples, CNY.

33.   Critz Farm. It’s hard to make it through a fall without visiting Matt Critz’s operation south of Caz. And for good reason. From syrup and hard cider, to haunted barns and the corn maze, Critz Farms is a must. It’s also a great place to go in the summer, when the parking is free and the playground open. But that’s just one of the many ag-tourism destinations within half-an-hour of the Salt City. We are blessed with such places.

34.   The Best Grocery Store in the Free World. I like to support the small local shops as much as possible. But for everyday needs, it’s nice to have a Wegmans nearby. Not only endorsed by Alec Baldwin’s mom, our local grocery stores were recently named the best anywhere by Consumer Reports. Take that, all you expensive-NYC-bodega fans.

35.   Oh, Canada. Our proximity to another country should not be overlooked as a positive part of living here. Kingston, Ottawa, even Montreal and Toronto can be reached in a few hours. (OK, Montreal’s a hike). But Kingston is but a short drive and ferry ride away.

36.   The Fair. That’s all there is to say about that.

37.   Simply put, CNY is Just a Great Place to Raise a Family. Affordable homes, good schools, low crime-rates, and easy access to everything we need. It all adds up. We spend a lot of time and energy trying to convince young adults not to leave this area, and it would be great if more stayed. But if they want to go to New York City or Boston to get it out of their system, I say go for it. But remember, when you start having kids, it’s just easier to live in Syracuse. Trust me.

So there it is. We get a little snow in April and I am moved to write a total puff piece about how great it is the live here.

I'm sure I missed a ton of stuff. Like the access to the arts, an active civic community, and people who are working everyday to make things better, including the Syracuse Downtown Committee and others. 
But 37 is a nice round number.

Now, hopefully it doesn't snow again until November.

Like the article?  Here's others you may enjoy. Learning Lessons from a Little Boy, Tip of the Hat to Single Parents, and Thanks to My Backup, and New Year, Few Expectations

Monday, April 14, 2014

17 Signs Your Home Is Crawling With ... Kids.

1.        The thought of being vomited on doesn’t totally gross you out.

2.        You cook and serve macaroni and cheese more than three times a week.

3.        At least one room in your house looks like a it was hit by Toys-R-Us bomb.

4.        You know how to check for head lice.

5.        When the temperature breaks 80 degrees, your first thought is, “Let’s set up the sprinkler.”
Look familiar?
Then, You likely have kids. 

6.        You own at least one container teaming with crayons, or markers, or Legos.

7.        There are three versions of Angry Birds on your smart phone, and you’ve never played the game once.

8.        You know the lyrics to the theme song from My Little Pony, Team Umizoomi, or Doc McStuffins.

9.        You own more than five laundry baskets, all of which are currently full. 

10.    You have an opinion about Disney shows. (Don't get me started on "A.N.T. Farm").

11.    Most Friday nights you rent a movie, and yet you can’t remember the last time you stayed awake to watch one.

12.    You consider the term “well-rested” merely a theoretical construct.

13.    The past three movies you saw in the movie theater were animated.

14.    You’ve only been to one Broadway show in the past decade (or ever), and it was “Annie.”

15.    “Sleeping in” means anything after 8 a.m.

16.    You consider free babysitting a thoughtful gift.

17.    Your idea of a perfect vacation is a quiet hotel room. … Nothing else.

If more than a few of these describe your life, there’s a good chance you have kids -- loads of them. Don’t panic. There are many people dealing with the same little challenges.

And, ironically, experts describe this as the “Best time in your life,” and say things like, “Enjoy it, because it goes by too fast.”

As infestations go, it’s a good one. Because, these critters can also be lots of fun.


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Monday, April 7, 2014

Dog Responds to "Mystery Poo" False Accusation

First, please excuse my limited vocabulary. My name is Sydney, and I’m an Australian Shepard mixed breed.  

I know, I know; it’s a bit cliché, a dog writing a blog. But if there’s anywhere tired clichés are allowed, it’s on Ruddy Bits blog, correct? Zing.

Yeah, you guessed it. I’m pissed. And I have a right to be.

A few days ago, my owners falsely accused me of defecating on their bed. To make matters worse, they did so publicly. Okay, “publicly” may be overstatement. I mean how many of you humans actually read this thing anyway? Three? Maybe four on good day?

I've got one word for you people: Innocent!
Still, there was certainly an attempt to shame me and my kind with the story of what happened, now dubbed the “Poo Mystery.” All this little story really did was play into anti-dog stereotypes -- the kind that make my blood boil. Deep breath.
It’s true they don’t teach us much at obedience school. Sit, and Stay, and Heel, of course, which I never quite understood. “Heel?” The word just makes no sense. And, yes, I am a graduate of said school. Top of my class, ruffly.  (Sorry, dog joke). But I did learn a lot there -- among other things, I learned not to POOP ON BEDS!
In case you're wondering, there is another pet in our house who has yet to go to any type of school, obedience or otherwise. Can you guess which one? I’ll give you a hint. She’s “cute” and “so cuddly,” and everyone just fawns all over her.
Need another hint?

Here’s one: It’s the animal who, just four days after I was falsely accused, actually pooped on the bed again, this time with witnesses. That's right. As one of our owners slept in this past Saturday, the little brat scratched a few times at the comforter, and then proceeded to drop one. It happened right before their eyes, right in the same spot as last time. Yet, this time, there was no mystery. The kitten did it. 

Apparently, the door to the room holding her litter box was closed. Of course, they made up excuses for her almost immediately.   
Was I exonerated? Completely. 
But am I angry? You bet.
When the first poop happened, did anyone think for one second the cute, cuddly little kitten could produce such a huge pile of crap? No. It didn’t even cross their minds.
Once they determined it wasn’t the kids, because none had poop in their pants – giving new meaning to the phrase “No shit, Sherlock” – who did they immediately blame?
That’s right: the Dog. A.k.a., me.
Sure, it's always the dog, isn't it?
Well, guess what. 
I. Didn't. Do. It.
And now that the Mystery of the Poo has been officially solved, I’d like to clear up a few other things.

First of all, I’m not that old. I’m only twelve. And don’t give me that dog years crap. Last time I checked, 12 years is 12 years – unless we’re talking about a disruption in the space-time continuum. Sorry. We watch a lot of old Star Trek episodes in our house. They think I’m just sitting there. But I’m listening. ... I’m always listening.

Second, I’ve been around long enough to know that if you really have to barf or poop, and you can't make it outside, you need to get to the hardwoods. C’mon, people. How many times have we discussed this? Remember when I used to have bilious vomiting syndrome? “Not on the carpet!” You must’ve said it a thousand times. Well guess what, I got it. Maybe it's because us dogs aren't so dumb after all.
And another thing, I don’t “always need a bath,” as was blurted more than once that fateful night. So next time you wake me in the middle of the night to accuse me of having an accident and decide to shove me into a cold tub, you better be certain.
While we’re on the subject, I have a general bone to pick.
When I first joined this family, I was all you guys had. I was everything. Then the first kid came along. Sure, it was an adjustment. I missed the attention, but I managed.

Then the second kid showed up. Then the third. Then the boy. It’s a lot to ask someone to go from top dog to 5th place. Again, I accepted it. 
Just feed me. Let me go outside. Take me on the occasional walk. I'm fine.
But then, you had to go get a kitten. Talk about rubbing my nose in it.
I mean, really, a cat? Argh. And she hasn’t even been to obedience school. She walks around all aloof, all over the counters, and everyone thinks she's frigging wonderful.

"Mystery Poo" Caper Solved, Cat in Custody
Hate to burst your bubble, but she is not wonderful. She's awful, and disrespectful, and apparently not even fully trained.
So, now it’s out there. All of it. I’ve been vindicated. And the cat has been publically shamed -- well, sort of publically.
I just hope you remember this, and the next time someone poops where they’re not supposed to, you put the blame where it belongs: On that cute, cuddly, good-for-nothing cat.
In summation: Dogs rule, Cats drool.
Now, could someone let me out. I need to be alone.

Like the article?  Here's others you may enjoy: Vegas, Baby! and Tip of the Hat to Single Parents, and Thanks to My Backup,

Thursday, April 3, 2014

An Anniversary To Be Remembered ... If Nothing Else

My wife and I celebrated our 13th wedding anniversary earlier this week. Though, celebrated might be the wrong term.

The night mercifully ended with me sleeping on the couch in the living room -- and not because I bought her a pair of lamps as a gift either. Though, I’ve figured out since that may have been couch worthy on its own.  

No, I wasn’t on the couch because I was in trouble. In fact, she was sleeping in the living room too, on the next couch over.

How did we end up uncomfortably asleep on separate couches on our 13th wedding anniversary? It actually involves something of a mystery. And who doesn't love a good mystery.  
Still, this is a story I’m reluctant to tell. Just thinking about it makes me want to vomit in my mouth, and then take a week-long shower. It’s just gross.  

Sure, I’ve written about gross stuff before: Most notably here. But this one takes the cake … or more aptly, the pile, or something. Here comes that familiar gag reflex.

Anyway, it began with what was by all accounts the most unmemorable of anniversaries. And that’s not my description. As we sat near each other in the same living room earlier in the evening, watching some lame television shows after the kids had gone to bed, my wife said, “This is the most unmemorable anniversary we’ve ever had.”

In hindsight, we both wish it had stayed that way.

We did not set out to have an unmemorable anniversary. We’d hoped to at least go out to dinner during the weekend days leading up to the annual celebration of our vows. But the sitter fell through one night, and logistical restraints impacted the other. (That means we were stuck driving kids to parties and dance recitals, and other child-centric crap).

And I didn’t set out to get her a couple of crappy lamps as a gift either. The 13th is supposed to be the Lace Anniversary, after all, not the Lamp Anniversary. But I couldn’t find anything lace she’d like. (Any more would be too much sharing). So I got some lamps she didn’t like instead.
I like to think our level of lameness is typical for people with four kids under the age of 12.

When is the Hazmat Suit Anniversary?
As we sat there that evening, watching television, thinking about the poor job we’d done celebrating this anniversary of ours, we heard the familiar sound of footsteps upstairs. From the lightness and frequency of the steps, we both knew it was our 3-year-old boy. And it sounded like he was on the move from his bedroom to ours, just down the hall.

This was an almost nightly occurrence.

From the living room, we could hear him enter our bedroom then scoot across the floor to the sweater chest. There, he likely sprang up onto our bed, crawled across the comforter, and under the blankets, making himself at home right smack-dab in the middle of our bed.

A few moments later, we heard a sound we didn’t expect. He let out a ghastly cry. This was not the “Where are you guys” cry; He cried loud. Nor was it his “I’m-hurt” cry. Still, something was amiss -- severely.

My wife went up the stairs to investigate, and let out an audible gasp.

I’d rather not describe the scene she discovered. … But here goes.

For starters, she found the boy covered in poo and in our bed. And, as you might suspect, also covered in poo was our bed, and our sheets, and my pillow.

She immediately took the boy back down the hall to the kid bathroom to hose him off, asking him what happened, while he just cried and cried. And that’s when what had happened became a mystery -- one that begged to be solved. For, while the boy had poo all over his clothes and his hands, there was none in his undies. 

I’m no crime scene investigator, nor is my wife (though she always says she should have been one), but it was clear to both of us that the poo in question was not his.
As my wife cleaned him up, I began to strip the bed, starting with the poo-covered comforter. The comforter appeared to be ground zero for whatever had transpired. I knew this because a soft pile of poo sat right smack in the middle of it, complete with knee prints and skid marks (sorry) leading up to the pillows and onto the sheets.

I took the comforter and my pillowcase outside into the cold night air to begin the initial cleansing process. I really wanted to just light a fire and burn the damned thing. And maybe I should have. But then, I’d likely be writing about how I got arrested for violating a village ordinance against openly burning feces, or some such. So, instead I just cleaned it up, gagging a few times for good measure.

My wife, meanwhile, finished tidying up the boy, tucked him back in his own bed, and turned her attention to our sheets. The whole while, we both turned over in our heads what must have occurred. And we both came to the same conclusion.
The dog.
It must’ve been.
The dog must’ve gotten “sick” – which is our family code word for having uncontrollable poo – and been unable to get outside quick enough, or even get off our bed, apparently. She’s a good dog, and doesn’t do stuff like this usually. But she’s getting old, and I know from reading Marley and Me that stuff like this is gonna happen. Tear drop.
Plus, it was the only logical answer. Unless you consider my wife’s other theory. Like God would smite us for her saying how unmemorable our anniversary celebration was.
I’m going with the dog. Though, piecing it all together, I figure it happened at about the same time she made that proclamation.
Once the poo pile was on the bed, and the dog had moved on to a less smelly room, the boy must’ve awoken and gone on his nightly commute across our comforter, only to find himself confronted with poo on the journey. And, as they say in the I'm Going on a Bear Hunt book, he went right through it.
With the mystery solved, it meant only one thing: I had to give the dog a bath. At least, that’s what my wife decided.
So, well after midnight, on our 13th anniversary, after I’d already spent half-an-hour outside cleaning a loose pile of poo off our comforter, I was in the bathroom with our dog giving her a full-body scrub down. My wife, for her part, was in the basement in full hazmat gear washing sheets, and putting the stain spray bottle to use on the pillow case and comforter, attempting to eradicate the remnants of the poo pile and poo prints.
Afterward, we both retired to the couches.
Now, I’m not a terribly superstitious person. I can’t afford to be, as I was born on Friday the 13th way back in the day. But it’s safe to say our 13th anniversary will not be remembered as the “Lace Anniversary.” No. Several other titles come more readily to mind.
Yet, if nothing else, it will be remembered.

Like the article? Know others who may enjoy reading it? Please share it using the buttons below or to the left. Thank you.

PS. This is the story I shared for the Clorox ickies twitter party, #ickies .